Text in this video is an excerpt from The American Soul, written & spoken by Jacob Needleman

51st (dream) State is nationally acclaimed poet Sekou Sundiata’s contemplation of America’s national identity, power in the world and guiding mythologies. The work, which Sundiata imagined as his poetic and personal “State of the American Soul Address,” explores how America defines itself in a new era characterized by unprecedented global influence and power. It is an adventure, a quest to find a vision of what it means to be both a citizen and an individual in a deeply complex, hyperkinetic society. 51st (dream) State features a cycle of songs accompanied by a live band, poems and monologues, supported by still and moving projected images.

from Sekou Sundiata’s 51st (dream) state
Conceived and written by Sekou Sundiata
Direction: Christopher McElroen
Original Sound Score: Graham Haynes
Musical Direction: Graham Haynes, Eddie Allen
Vocal Arrangements: Richard Harper
Lighting Design: Rick Murray
Choreography: David Thomson
Projections: Sage Marie Carter
Set Design: Troy Hourie
Sound Design: Lucas Indelicato
Singers: LaTanya Hall, Ronnell Bey, Samita Sinha, and Bora Yoon
Musicians: Graham Haynes, Bora Yoon, Adam Klipple, Bill White, Calvin Jones, Chris Eddleton, and Eddie Allen

Additional text excerpts written and spoken by Cornel West from a speech at Pasadena City College, and Jacob Needleman from The American Soul

Additional songs by Ani diFranco

Producer: MultiArts Projects & Productions/MAPP
Ann Rosenthal and Cathy Zimmerman, Co-Directors and Producers
Jordana Phokompe, Associate Producer

“The 51st dream state is an entertaining and thought-provoking interrogation of contemporary America.” – The Age (Australia)

The 51st (Dream) State is an introspective look into America’s national identity and its guiding mythologies … An extraordinary, moving and entertaining show that I would recommend for everyone to see.” – Pretend Paper (Australia)

New York Times Article